“The probability of escalation of the conflict remains very significant. We don’t rule out a full-scale Russian invasion.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a televised speech on 8/18/16.
The situation of the rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia is being paralleled by the war of words between the countries’ two leaders. As mentioned in a previous article, Vladimir Putin is still not satisfied with the alleged actions by Ukrainian commandos that killed one FSB officer and one enlisted man on two separate incidents. Putin went on to say that any meetings between Poroshenko and himself in the upcoming G-20 summit would be “pointless,” and accused Ukraine of conducting terror attacks.
To further complicate the issue, the attacks were labeled as “border incursions,” as they occurred in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. In addition to this, the 24th of August is rapidly approaching, and this is the date that Ukrainians celebrate their Independence Day…from the Soviet Union. This bears special noteworthiness, as it would be a prime moment to conduct an incursion due to the historical significance of the date. Vladimir Putin visited Crimea on August 19th and said the following to the Security Council of Sevastopol:
“I think it’s obvious that Kiev’s current authorities are not seeking ways to solve problems through negotiations, but have turned to terrorism. We’re not going to cut our relations, despite the reluctance of the current authorities in Kiev to have full diplomatic ties at ambassador level.”
None of this is sitting well with Poroshenko, and the process for drafting as many as 100,000 men was initiated by him with a letter last week. In support of such actions, Poroshenko also said this while visiting in the area of the Donbass and Eastern Ukraine:
“Unfortunately, the deterioration of the situation in the east [Ukraine] and in Crimea does not exclude the possibility that in the event of further escalation, we will be forced to impose martial law and declare mobilization.”
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry released the following statement to the UN regarding Putin’s visit to Crimea:
“The new visit by an official of the Russian Federation to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city, which are an integral part of Ukraine, is evidence that the Russian Federation continues neglecting the Charter of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly resolution 68/262 of 27 March, 2014 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine,’ Baku declaration and resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other principles of international Law.”
The irony of such a statement is only equaled by its audacity and arrogance. The statement clearly reveals its “slant” that appeals to the UN and international law when the government of Ukraine is in its present form due to violation of international law and the Ukrainian Constitution. The bottom line?
Nothing was mentioned about the U.S., EU, and IMF-sponsored coup d’état that removed (under the Ukrainian Constitution) legally-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and inserted Yatsenuk, the marionette-creation of the three headed hydra of Victoria Nuland, and Senators McCain and Graham.
In the meantime, Europe and NATO have denounced Russia’s version and labeled them as “not being credible.” The EU is actually less credible, because they have a vested interest in absorbing Ukraine, as well as her entry into NATO. Let us also not forget the IMF wished to advance a bailout for Ukraine totaling around $18 billion. This went ostensibly “on hold” because Ukraine “did not approve of promised reforms” in their political procedures: the superficial reason.
The real reason is that because of the fighting in the Donbass and Eastern Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Ukraine can hold its territory against a Russian invasion and thus guarantee repayment of the loan and self-subordination as another European vassal state kneeling before the IMF.
On July 28 of this year, Vladimir Putin signed a decree to officially incorporate Crimea into the southern region of Russia. The decree was signed not on the basis of the annexation, but by the vote taken by the residents on March 17, 2014. The vote ended up with 97% of the inhabitants of the region desiring to be separated from Ukraine and become a part of Russia.
All of these details did not stop the U.S. from sending a shipment of night-vision devices to Ukraine last week, and this from the mouth of Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in an interview on August 18th with Radio Free Europe. The U.S. has stopped short of sending material that could be used in direct combat, as it has already been warned by Russia that such would be a provocation that could be construed as an act of war. The U.S. and Europe still have ongoing sanctions against Russia that began after Crimea was taken in 2014.
Those sanctions are considered being dropped by at least one European nation, the Netherlands, reconsidering its position in Europe as well as possibly resetting its relations with Russia. The Dutch, as reported by Pravda.ru on August 19 are considering a referendum to leave the EU, as Britain did with the Brexit vote, and also to drop the economic sanctions against Russia. Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party spoke about this upcoming referendum and mindset on 8/19 as such:
“Retrieving the ties with Russia is a priority for a traditionally merchant country that the Netherlands has always been. For many centuries, our nations, in spite of existing conflicts, could only benefit from mutual cooperation Today, the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions is a necessary condition for our prosperous future. Brussels makes decisions proceeding from its own interests only, without listening to the people. The EU is an expansionist monster that is busy with seizing territories, depriving us of our social system, identity and democracy. The only way to change the current situation is to leave the EU. Any solutions will have a secured legal status separately from the EU. We will become stronger economically, including through our relations with Russia, and trade.”
In the meantime, Russia has been given permission by Turkey to use Incirlik Airbase for operations to combat Islamist terrorists. Russian newspaper Izvestia Daily reported the following statement as evidence of the cooperation between Russia and Turkey:
“It just remains to come to an agreement with Erdogan that we get the NATO base at Incirlik as [our] primary airbase.”
Igor Morozov, Russian Legislator
The Russian Air Force is already utilizing the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria, and the Iranians have given Russia permission to utilize Iran’s Hamadan Airbase. The Pentagon has been denying the possibility of a Russian offensive, and has downplayed the incident surrounding the FSB affair in Crimea. There is an interesting source for readers wishing to know more on the topic of Russian and Ukrainian troop movements and buildups.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is an excellent site headed up by Retired General Jack Keane with a plethora of highly-educated and experienced analysts. Of not is a map entitled “Russian Build-Up in and Around Ukraine: August 12, 2016,” that also summarizes in bullet comments the deployments and composition per each area.
As Ukraine and Russia continue to face off, combat is ongoing in the contested Eastern Ukrainian regions that the Minsk agreement is failing to bring to a halt. The future actions in the area are going to be determined by just how much the West wants to push the issue and support the inclusion (absorption is a better term) of Ukraine into the IMF hegemony. Russia has already stated it will not tolerate Ukrainian entry into NATO, however, it seems the West and Ukraine are pushing other buttons that may very well soon lead to war.
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith, a Certified Master Herbalist, a Montana Master Food Preserver, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape).